By: Luke Collins
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is a tribunal formed by the United Nations that investigates and tries cases of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. On June 11, 2020, the Trump administration issued an executive order authorizing travel and economic sanctions against personnel affiliated with the ICC, citing their involvement in an investigation of the United States’ military activity in Afghanistan between 2003 and 2014. To assess this decision and its implications, this comment will take a closer look at the Court’s inception, history, and authority. The ICC was preceded by ad hoc tribunals for specific conflicts. In 1998, the United Nations passed the Rome Statute, forming the Court. It was the first and only permanent tribunal to hear cases of concern to the international community. Throughout the ICC’s tumultuous history, the United States has employed various legislative and strategic efforts to deny the Court’s jurisdictional reach and legitimacy. As a result of the 2020 executive order, ICC-U.S. relations have come to a head, and it is unclear how the Trump administration’s actions will bear on the Biden administration’s approach. This comment will discuss the historical context of the ICC’s creation, the Court’s authority, the efficacy and legitimacy of ICC prosecutions, and recent developments in U.S. relations with the Court.
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